Stephen Hawking: Heaven, God are Fairy Stories

Revered Physicist Stephen Hawking, who has lived a life that has been quite personally and professionally spectacular, weighed in definitively on the potential existence of an afterlife in the Guardian:

"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first," he said.

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark," he added.

Hawking's latest comments go beyond those laid out in his 2010 book, The Grand Design, in which he asserted that there is no need for a creator to explain the existence of the universe. The book provoked a backlash from some religious leaders, including the chief rabbi, Lord Sacks, who accused Hawking of committing an "elementary fallacy" of logic.

Hawking's comments, in repsonse to a series of questions from Guardian editors and readers, come on the eve of his talk at the Google Zeitgeist meeting in London. When asked what humans should do with our lives, he said "We should seek the greatest value of our action."


AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at May 16, 2011, 4:00am

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